Chicago Typewriter: Episode 14
We’re right at the cusp of learning the full details of the operation that started it all, the one that brought both tragedy and hope to our young independence fighters. Fear will threaten to take root in our characters’ hearts as the stakes get higher in both time periods. Even though it feels like we’re playing a round of Russian roulette with so many lives on the line, our characters will know that the only way to face those fears is head on.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Back inside Carpe Diem, Yul picks Hwi-young’s jacket off the floor along with their group keepsake photo, folded to only show Soo-hyun. As the truth dawns on him, Hwi-young plucks the photo out of his hands, saying, “In the next life, let me have her.”
Soo-hyun rushes toward Yul and per her encouragement, they join the conga line with their comrades. Now we get to hear Hwi-young’s answer of what he wishes for should he be reborn in a liberated Joseon: “At that time, and that time too, I want to be with you… and you all.”
In the present, Seol fusses in bed, thinking she’s at home. Once it occurs to her that she’s in Se-joo’s house, she breaks into a pleased smile. Hee.
Over in the kitchen, the boys are busy cooking up breakfast: Se-joo pounds the meat while Jin-oh chops up vegetables. Hm, these food preference strike familiar. When Jin-oh tries to dissuade Se-joo from cooking, the latter reminds him that while the living makes food for the dead (at one’s death anniversary) a ghost doesn’t ever cook for humans.
Jin-oh argues that he learned a thing or two about food from watching the chefs when he and the typewriter first ended up in a restaurant in Europe, but Se-joo has lived on his own for years. Seol interrupts their bickering to ask if they don’t ever exercise to work off their late-night snack, and Se-joo chuckles that he was born with this amazing body.
Jin-oh: “I saw you doing push-ups earlier—200 of them, was it?” Se-joo whacks him with a green onion.
Next thing we know, Seol is presented with two dishes to eat. She marvels at the choice of either beef (Se-joo) or fish (Jin-oh) and ultimately chooses Jin-oh’s. The ghost celebrates while Se-joo keeps his fury in check by giving his dish to the dog.
The trio hangs out doing various activities like giving Gyeon-woo a bath, drying him off (ha, Jin-oh tries to get extra attention by possessing the dog and Se-joo vigorously pets him until he pops out), and taking a group photo together.
As the day progresses, we hear Jin-oh’s voice recite more lines of Spurgeon’s poem:
If you think of something to do, then do it now
Today may be a clear day
But you do not know if you may see clouds tomorrow
Since yesterday is no longer yours, do it now
If you have a kind word to say, say it now
For you may not have tomorrow
The person you love won’t always be by your side
If you have something loving to say, say it now
If you wish to smile, then smile now
Do it now
Before your friend leaves you
When Se-joo and Seol take an afternoon nap, Jin-oh slips away to examine the crack in his arm. He then takes out the original manuscript of Fate from a drawer and sends a copy to skeevy Reporter Song.
All three writing partners sign their contract later that day, which means they can finally get to work. Deciding to run through the information they collected thus far, Se-joo says there was a mole in their organization, but he doesn’t know who it could be.
Having recognized the resemblance between her mother and Madam Sophia, Seol believes it could be her mother, who also remembers parts of her past life.
We then flash back to the past where Madam Sophia asked Young-min why he wouldn’t keep his end of the bargain of getting her son out of jail in exchange for passing along information.
Young-min told her that the vague details she passed weren’t good enough to free her son who killed an Imperial police officer; in order to get what she wanted, she needed to find out who the group leader was.
Madam Sophia refused, but Young-min wasn’t finished with her spy duties yet. Back in the present, Seol shares how her mother claimed to have abandoned her out of fear that history would repeat itself. But Mom bounced before she could find out why, so she gave it a great deal of thought and realized where their relationship turned ill-fated in their past lives.
Turns out Madam Sophia pushed Soo-hyun to fulfill Young-min’s request of singing on stage at the charity event tonight, warning her that declining this performance will put their entire organization in danger.
Yul was firmly against the idea, though Soo-hyun argued that it was best not to raise suspicion, and being on stage will establish an alibi. Hwi-young checked her confidence in not getting caught and changed the details of their mission accordingly.
Seol leaves everyone on a cliffhanger because she doesn’t know what those changes were, and though Se-joo can’t remember either, he guesses that perhaps the key variable was changing Soo-hyun’s role in the operation.
Secretary Kang knocks at the door to inform Se-joo that Reporter Song has made headlines again by disclosing that Fate is a plagiarized publication. Tae-min’s mother flies into a rage when the phone rings off the hook and confronts her husband for lying about how they could trust Se-joo to keep quiet.
Writer Baek counters that there’s no proof that Se-joo spilled the beans himself and encourages his wife to speak to their son Tae-min. But she’s beyond reason and doesn’t believe in the idea of starting over.
Tae-min keeps his head up despite being surrounded by snickering remarks from students on campus. He’s soon bombarded by reporters, but he stops in his tracks upon seeing Ji-seok. The men sit in a cafe, where Ji-seok comments that this must be why Tae-min’s mother was working so hard at undermining Se-joo.
Ji-seok believes Tae-min has long since lost the chance to explain himself and immediately terminates his contract with the publication company. He also has a message for Tae-min’s mother: Should she dare to mess with Se-joo again, she’ll have to deal with him first.
Incensed, Tae-min meets with Sang-mi, who appears pleased that he wants to seek revenge on Se-joo. But Tae-min holds up the USB containing footage that would incriminate her and declares that he’ll be calling the shots.
Back at home, Se-joo hollers at Jin-oh for going behind his back when he sought to give Tae-min a chance. Jin-oh retorts that he wouldn’t have done it if Tae-min showed an ounce of remorse, but Tae-min didn’t. He believes that Writer Baek is also responsible for turning a blind eye toward his son, and without a true apology, neither a man nor the world can change.
But Se-joo is irritated by both Jin-oh and Seol’s mother’s attempts to bring the events of their past lives cloud their approach toward the present. Se-joo tells Jin-oh to stay out of his business and act like the ghost he is.
Seol finds Se-joo sulking in his office, promising that she isn’t here to make the boys reconcile. She confesses that she used to like Tae-min back when she thought he was the author of Fate, but as it turns out, the book’s true author was Se-joo, and she pours on the compliments in order to lift his spirits.
She’s pleased when she gets a snort out of him, and then sympathizes with how hard it must’ve been for him. She wonders why both he and Hwi-young have so many secrets and reminds him of his promise (as Hwi-young) to be honest with her. Ah, so she knows about that?
He asks if he should cry then, which is perfectly fine with her. Then he pouts, “What if I do? Will you hug me?” Stop it, you’re being adorable. She puts out her arms, ready for a hug, and he gets up to embrace her.
That’s when Seol says it’s really all thanks to Jin-oh that her decade-long admiration for Tae-min was just a misunderstanding. Well played. When Se-joo grumpily says that Jin-oh should be the one to apologize, she calls him out for being immature.
She then seeks Jin-oh out using the same I’m-not-here-to-force-you-two-to-make-up approach. Jin-oh smiles when she takes his side, and she says Se-joo shouldn’t be so upset when he was trying to do the right thing.
She tries to get Jin-oh to extend a peace offering first, but he’s determined to be the one to receive an apology. Well, can’t blame a girl for trying.
She does, however, get both men to sit down at their respective machines, though neither meets the other’s gaze. So she threatens to leave, and Se-joo and Jin-oh both clamor to stop her and agree to work. Forced to shake on it, the men extend their hands and let their fingers touch before letting go.
She proposes that everyone speak casually to one another, an idea Se-joo is quick to oppose since he provides Jin-oh with food and shelter. Jin-oh fires back, “I think differently, Se-joo-yah.” Se-joo: “Do you want to die?” Jin-oh: “I’m already dead.” Real mature, fellas.
Seol returns home to snap her friend out of her drunken time of mourning. Bang-jin cries that she’ll only miss Jin-oh more if she’s sober, but then bolts up when Seol says Jin-oh came with her. Just then, Bang-jin’s mother comes in and hands her a hangover cure. D’aww.
Bang-jin hurries to make herself look presentable and heads outside to see Jin-oh sitting on a bench watching a little girl cry over the balloon caught in a tree. She smiles when he uses his ghostly powers to float the balloon toward the ground.
Jin-oh walks up to her and makes a sincere apology, which Bang-jin doesn’t accept because she knows she was the one harboring a crush on a ghost. He hopes Bang-jin won’t be too saddened because he’s a ghost who could leave this world at any time, but he would like to take her out on a date to thank her for having feelings for him.
He gets flustered when she starts sobbing, worried that he’s done something else wrong. Through her tears, Bang-jin cries, “Don’t smile at me like that because it makes me like you more!” Relieved, Jin-oh gently collects her in his arms, though to everyone else, Bang-jin looks like she’s sobbing alone.
Back at Seongsucheong, Seol reassures Bang-jin’s mother that Jin-oh is a decent ghost, though she hangs on the mention that he isn’t long due to leave this world. Bang-jin’s mother brushes the words under the table and smiles to hear that her lovesick daughter takes after her own generous heart.
While Seol gets a call from Sang-mi crying about a sick pet, Ji-seok learns that Se-joo won’t take any action against Tae-min in the plagiarism scandal. He’s spooked by Se-joo’s emotional maturity and says this will get more media attention than the male stalker-fan who committed suicide.
It’s at that moment Se-joo realizes that Sang-mi was that stalker-fan’s younger sister. He immediately has Ji-seok look into what Sang-mi is doing now.
Seol arrives at Sang-mi’s home and learns that she lives alone because her brother passed away. Sang-mi cries that her pet is the only family she has left and picks up her cat, who seems perfectly healthy.
Sang-mi complains to her cat about making her look bad in front of the vet, then prevents Seol from leaving by fetching her a cup of orange juice. Insisting that Seol drink it right away, she watches Seol take a sip.
Now that Seol is knocked unconscious and her phone is out of reach, Sang-mi calls to update Tae-min, who tells her to keep Seol hostage until further notice. She isn’t too happy about being left out of the grand plan, but Tae-min reiterates that she’ll do as she’s told.
Unable to reach Seol, Se-joo leaves several voicemail messages for her and orders her to call him back. He manages to find a business card for Seongsucheong and calls Bang-jin’s mother who hasn’t seen Seol since she took a call and left.
He realizes that something must be amiss, but he doesn’t have time to dwell on it before he gets a worried call from Tae-min saying that he can’t reach Seol either. Tae-min instructs him to check his email, which contains photos of Sang-mi.
Tae-min identifies Sang-mi as Se-joo’s deceased stalker’s younger sister who threatened him because she knew everything about their pasts. He claims Sang-mi called him after the plagiarism scandal made Fate popular again, and Se-joo tells him to get to the point. Tae-min: “She’s got Seol.”
Tae-min plays up the noble friend act, saying that even though Sang-mi is trying to extort money out of him, he felt he should reach out to Se-joo because Seol is in danger. Se-joo shakes with anger while Tae-min instructs him to head to the address he’ll send alone.
He then hangs up and laughs, breathing, “How fun.” Goddamn you, Tae-min—why couldn’t you be eternally tied to a ball and chain?
Se-joo flies into action, but he doesn’t get far before Secretary Kang approaches him with new information on the case. She gapes upon learning that Se-joo is already aware of the Sang-mi and Tae-min connection.
Meanwhile, Seol wakes up in a dark room, her mouth taped covered and her body bound to a chair. She struggles against her restraints, which don’t budge. At the same time, Se-joo drives to the address given to him by Tae-min and arrives at an abandoned building.
He finds Tae-min on the rooftop and demands to know where Seol is. Tae-min says he won’t be able to save her if he provokes him and chuckles, “Seol is going to die because of you.”
Se-joo asks if Tae-min ordered Sang-mi for Seol’s kidnapping and attempted murder. Tae-min takes this opportunity to clarify the situation, saying that it’s true he was threatened by Sang-mi… but he lied about not knowing where Seol is being held.
Se-joo is prepared to do anything in exchange for knowing where Seol is, and Tae-min replies that when the news first broke out, he thought about coming to Se-joo and beg him to bury this scandal for him.
But then it occurred to him that Se-joo wouldn’t do that for him no matter how much he begged, so he’s here to prove to Se-joo that this was all his fault.
Jin-oh finds the house empty and upon seeing the image of Sang-mi on the laptop screen, a sharp pain grips him, and he can overhear Tae-min and Se-joo’s rooftop conversation. He fails in his first attempt to teleport and grits through the searing pain in his arm to will himself to teleport.
Back at the rooftop, Tae-min tauntingly says he isn’t sure if Seol is still alive and gives Se-joo a choice: save Seol by telling Reporter Song that the plagiarism scandal was a ruse, or don’t and put Seol’s life at risk.
Se-joo wonders how Tae-min hasn’t hit rock bottom yet, but Tae-min describes Sang-mi as a volatile, unpredictable ticking time bomb. As an expert in crime thrillers, Se-joo sees through the lies and guesses that Tae-min orchestrated this entire charade.
Tae-min barks at him to shut up and make a choice already, but Se-joo has the upper hand and correctly surmises that Tae-min likely promised Sang-mi a large sum of money. Down below, Jin-oh lands on the ground though he fades in and out.
Meanwhile, Se-joo continues painting the full picture of this situation: Sang-mi is keeping Seol hostage and waiting for Tae-min’s call. Tae-min tries to correct him, but Se-joo states the police will uncover the truth soon enough, then calls Secretary Kang to put a search out for Sang-mi.
Saying that he’ll save Seol, Se-joo turns his back toward Tae-min. Getting an eerie feeling, he turns back to see Tae-min standing on the ledge, ready to end his life.
“I can’t let you go this way,” Tae-min says, adding that jumping to his death is his only choice if Se-joo doesn’t take the fall for him. He refuses to come down because he can’t bear to face public scrutiny. He lifts one foot, and Se-joo runs to pull Tae-min back onto the roof.
Tae-min grabs Se-joo and pushes him aside, but Se-joo gets back up to prevent Tae-min from climbing back on the ledge. Tae-min struggles against Se-joo’s hold and throws Se-joo off, causing him to fall backward over the ledge.
And then a flash from the past of a sharply dressed Young-min assuring Yul and Hwi-young that they’ll have a great time tonight.
With that, we’re transported back to the night of the fancy party, where Yul and Hwi-young take stock of the armed guards and the donation box. Young-min greets his guests with the same words we heard moments ago and he laughs when they already notice the beautiful ladies present.
We hear Hwi-young’s voice relaying the full details of the feint operations to the team leaders. They’ll use the fact that their enemies are expecting an attack to their advantage by dispatching two teams to bomb a bank and another company that have helped the Japanese.
A battle will ensue, and that’s when they will distribute copies of the Declaration of Independence to make their cause known to the public—their first objective.
Young-min sees Hwi-young and Yul enjoy themselves and catches Yul checking his watch before the sound of explosives boom through the air. Once he’s filled in about the attack, the police commissioner sends him with the police force to sort out the situation.
We then hear Hwi-young explain their second objective: while the police are busy dealing with the bombings, a team disguised as caterers and other guests will steal the donation box and assassinate the Japanese government and military officials.
Hwi-young proclaimed that Soo-hyun will kick off their second and main objective, and then we’re pulled back to the party. Soo-hyun sings on stage, watching out for when Yul and Hwi-young slip away.
Young-min runs towards the site of the bombings when he stops in his tracks, having remembered that Yul checked his watch moments before the bombs went off. Realizing that Yul anticipated the attack, he calls back his men.
All the lights go out at the garden party, much to the guests’ confusion. Once the lights come back up, Soo-hyun is gone, but Hwi-young and Yul stand with their guns drawn and flanked by their masked comrades.
Hwi-young announces that they are here to fight for Joseon’s independence and will assassinate those who stand in their way before opening fire on the crowd.
Oh boy, Jin-oh has to be there to break Se-joo’s fall, right? Right?! Because if Se-joo suffers from a concussion and subsequently a bout of amnesia in our finale week, I will seriously throw my mouse at my screen. So don’t you dare mess with Se-joo, drama gods! I won’t have it!
But if this episode is any indication, it seems Chicago Typewriter won’t waste any screen time dwelling too much on any outlier plot points than driving the main mystery forward. For instance, we never got to see Jin-oh’s date with Bang-jin, which I thought would’ve been wonderfully sweet, particularly after she found out that he was a ghost. Every drama viewer knows that at this point in any given series, one blissful day is always followed by deep tragedy. So when our trio got to spend some quality time with one another, I braced myself for impact, knowing that whatever dramatic fallout that comes next would hit us head-on.
I personally wasn’t too thrilled about Seol being kidnapped, only because it seems like dramaland’s third act conflict of choice, and Tae-min’s villainous plan was full of holes. Did he, as a man who outright stole someone else’s writing, honestly think that he could outsmart an author known as the Korean Stephen King? He may have sounded like a noble frenemy looking out for Seol over the phone, but the moment he drew Se-joo out to an abandoned building… I mean, come on, Tae-min, did you not expect the tables to be turned? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe you can take a page from Young-min in terms of how to be a better baddie (although is Young-min still better at being bad if our good guys knew he was a spy?).
Moving on, while it was adorable how Seol tried to get the two boys in her life to reconcile, I am on Se-joo’s side when it comes to the Fate plagiarism scandal. Se-joo has long since put his past behind him, and as terrible as Tae-min can be, Se-joo’s decision in moving on leaves Tae-min with a choice. Even though Jin-oh feared that Tae-min would choose a path of evil, he failed to consider that there was also a chance for redemption for Tae-min as a person sometime later in his life, even if it was on the deranged pet abuser’s deathbed. So while we do get a narrative conflict when Jin-oh helped expose the manuscript to the public, I do hope that the story’s underlying message isn’t to teach one’s enemies a lesson by doing something they would do.
As of this moment, my attention is drawn to the night of the grand assassination plot in the ’30s, because that’s where the core mystery lies. My mind is still trying to wrap around how Jin-oh says he doesn’t remember if the operation was successful because he could’ve died before then, but then we see him in that final shot on stage, his gun pointed at high-ranking officials. We’re so close to figuring everything out with Joseon’s Robin Hood and his merry men. Why isn’t it Friday yet?
- Chicago Typewriter pre-empted this weekend
- Pre-emptions in store for Chicago Typewriter, Rebel, Tunnel, Whisper
- Chicago Typewriter: Episode 1
- Persistent fangirl meets crabby writer in tvN’s Chicago Typewriter
- Old friends reunite 80 years in the future in Chicago Typewriter
- Novelist Yoo Ah-in barters in hearts for Chicago Typewriter
- Chicago Typewriter’s star writer, ghostwriter, and anti-fan go for a spin